On The Rails

Heading out West 

Looking out across the expanse of land, viewing the scenery, I noticed the vast loneliness it expressed to my eyes. My heart felt empty. Tattered remains of an old shed. Walls that had crumbled, from what must have been an old adobe church building, out what seemed to be in the middle of nowhere.


Here and there I would see a group of horses, or a group of cows; (even antelope!) and a few abandoned buildings; old rusted, broken down vehicles, and yes, even a home would display itself along the way. They seemed so very few and far between, and towns? I find myself wondering how far they have to travel to obtain their supplies for living.


It is mid-June and yet there are mountain peaks still glistening in the distance with snowy caps. Plateaus and dried creek beds also come into view. It brings sadness to ones mind, thinking of how years ago people actually traveled these paths by horseback, mule and/or covered wagon. The struggles and incredible obstacles they must have faced on their journey for a better life. We complain about our commute to work! Mercy, Lord, thanks for reminding me about LIFE!


It amazes me how the tracks wind right through the hills and mountains, next to or over rivers. I almost feel like an intruder in the natural realm of things. I am grateful, though, for the opportunity to share in the beauty of God’s creation. I kind of thought that there wasn’t much ‘unoccupied’ land even left in the States. I’ve been so used to populated areas that I’d forgotten the peacefulness of the open, natural land. Glancing over what seems to be barren prairie land I see one lone tree off in the distance, and it reminds me of a scene from “Little House on the Prairie” or something like that. I almost expect to see a horse tied to its trunk and someone resting under the shade of its branches in the heat of the afternoon sun, but then, just over to the west, there is a paved road and I snap back into reality. Ah, for the simpler times of life! But, was it really? Having to work the land, fight the elements, not sure that your crops would make it through or not. Having to go and draw water and carry it for yourselves as well as your livestock. Making your own clothes, your own bread, bedding, everything! One can hardly comprehend the concept of what they had to face. We find ourselves complaining if we wait too long in line, or if the store doesn’t carry the exact item we want at the moment we desire it. We are SO spoiled! What if we had to stop and chisel out a path for ourselves through fallen rock along the path? What if we had to (completely and totally) rely upon God’s grace for each and every day of our journey? Not knowing what the next moment would bring in our way; a wild boar, a mountain lion, coyote, etc. Having to keep putting one foot in front of the other to reach our destination, alone, or with a handful of other sojourners. Hot days, cold nights, no comfy hotel rooms with hot baths and meals. What if we could get that same mind-set that they had to have in order to survive . . . God first. God NOW, God always! If we KNEW that we could not make it through without Him at the center of each and every moment of our lives, ah the peace we could have within. The confidence we would have to face all things. “Lord. Help us!”


As we continue our travels out west, I gaze upon the sunset off in the distance. Watching the various hues spread, becoming more vibrant and alive with each passing moment, I am once again in awe of the goodness of my Creator. How can people deny He exists? How can people take in this ever-changing glory and not realize that this just doesn’t happen by chance? I am amazed and dumb-founded at the thought, looking up again, through teary eyes I see the shadows playing around the clouds. It is as if the heavens are saying ‘good night’ and ‘rest assured, you will be safe’ to all the animals (and those of us that just take a moment to stop and listen). Such precious beauty the picture paints for me to behold.


At every stop along the way I see peoples faces. There are expressions of excitement, at the beginning of their own journey. There are expressions of sadness as they say ‘farewell’ to a loved one. There are overwhelming expressions of gratitude at the arrival of a family member home safely with them once again. Different towns, even different states, different cultures, different dress, different nationalities, yet the expressions are the same. All of us are brothers and sisters here together on earth. We all have the same feelings, emotions, cares and concerns. We all love, deeply. We are all caught up ‘in the moment’ of our own lives. Ah, the joy of being a witness to this. It helps me to understand that we are really all the same. Some of us live more in realms of worry, others in the vast realm of love. Anyplace we do live in, emotionally speaking can blind us to the world around us. We can quickly forget to look around us and glean from others. It is through the choices we make that we learn to live our lives. There are good choices and bad choices, and every choice has its consequences. Some wonderful, some devastating, this is how we grow; this is how we learn. If only we would take the time to actually communicate our experiences with others. How much easier our lives would be, to learn from one another, instead of simply plowing through the weeds of our own garden of life without the skilled knowledge of one who is already a master gardener in a particular area.


Over my entire trip on the rails, across this wonderful country of ours, has had me holding my breath at the splendor of all that my eyes have beheld. It caused my heart to grow more deeply in love with my Lord. I am ever so grateful for the chance to have gone through this journey, and I will treasure the lessons learned in my heart, always.

(c) 2008 KL 4GivenMinistries

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